Temporal coding of brain patterns for direct limb control in humans.
Müller-Putz GR, Scherer R, Pfurtscheller G, Neuper C.
For individuals with a high spinal cord injury (SCI) not only the lower limbs, but also the upper extremities are paralyzed. A neuroprosthesis can be used to restore the lost hand and arm function in those tetraplegics. The main problem for this group of individuals, however, is the reduced ability to voluntarily operate device controllers. A brain-computer interface provides a non-manual alternative to conventional input devices by translating brain activity patterns into control commands. We show that the temporal coding of individual mental imagery pattern can be used to control two independent degrees of freedom - grasp and elbow function - of an artificial robotic arm by utilizing a minimum number of EEG scalp electrodes. We describe the procedure from the initial screening to the final application. From eight naïve subjects participating online feedback experiments, four were able to voluntarily control an artificial arm by inducing one motor imagery pattern derived from one EEG derivation only.